Jeff Monahan's Corpsing is a twist on Frankenstein that blends genres and themes as promiscuously as Mary Shelley's obsessed doctor recombined body parts.
It's a contemporary, Pittsburgh-shot retelling in which the corpse-swiping scientist, "Shelly," is a woman. And in an unsettling framing device, the scientist, now crippled, confronts the male colleague who betrayed her.
Corpsing, at Film Kitchen during the Three Rivers Film Festival, looks wonderfully creepy, thanks to talents like director of photography Jen Schneider and special-effects maestro Greg Lightner. Joanna Lowe's all-out turn as Shelly is opposite Monahan as both the creature, Thomas, and the arrogant ex-colleague.
Gore notwithstanding, Monahan says the film is a love story: Shelly falls for her reanimated man, then goes to insane lengths to keep him (breathing).
Area native Monahan, a former cop, claims three decades as a screenwriter, filmmaker, stage and screen actor, and educator who's worked with the likes of George Romero and Tom Savini. Corpsing is also already available on demand across North America, courtesy of horror distributor Fangoria Presents.
Monahan acknowledges that not everyone finds Corpsing romantic. "Oh, yeah," he says he reminds himself, "we are flaying a person, aren't we?"